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Election season is already here

Hi. Sorry to be away for so long. Illness plus technical difficulties were not a good combination.

A few updates: Two candidates in the Hayward mayor’s race — Mark Salinas and Francisco Zermeno — both have been busy, hosting community events, raising money, attending just about every local gathering. I haven’t seen as much from Barbara Halliday, but that doesn’t mean she’s not connecting with voters; she doesn’t seem to use social media as much as the other two. All three have a lot of connections in the community.

I have been hearing rumors that two others will enter the race to replace longtime Mayor Michael Sweeney, who has announced his retirement at the end of June. But no names have been attached.

One guy did stop  by the Daily Review office and said he was running for mayor. I won’t give his name, because he didn’t speak to me; I only overheard him as he was flirting with our office manager. We do get some interesting characters wandering in off Foothill.

Salinas’ council seat will be up for grabs. Councilman Marvin Peixoto has announced he plans to run for re-election.

Meanwhile, Hayward Unified Trustee William McGee has set up a website for his re-election and to keep the community informed. His and Trustee Lisa Brunner’s terms expire next year; Brunner has not announced whether she will seek re-election.

The city of Hayward also is looking at a ballot measure to pay for a new main library and two fire stations, and possibly more upgrades and services. A series of meetings and outreach are planned, beginning next month.

The Hayward school district is talking about another bond measure to replace more of the district’s aging schools, but no date has been set.

Alameda County is looking at asking voters to extend Measure A, a half-cent sales tax set to expire in 2019. It helps fund medical services to the county’s low-income residents, but some have complained that too much of the money currently goes to Highland Hospital or is at the discretion of the county Board of Supervisors and subject to political maneuverings. Without it, services will be drastically cut, advocates say. But it was approved in much better economic times, 2004.

Oh, and remember Measure B-1, the proposal that would double the county sales tax for transportation from a half-cent to a full cent that was narrowly defeated in 2012? It will be back on the ballot in November, though with a 30-year time limit (the previous proposal had no time limit).

These are just a few local measures being considered; statewide ones could also be on the ballot. With all the competing interests asking voters to open their wallets, there is concern it will be overwhelming and voters will just say no to all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on Friday, December 27th, 2013
Under: Alameda County, Ashland, Castro Valley, Cherryland, General, Hayward, Health, Other unincorporated areas, Politics, San Leandro, San Lorenzo, Schools, Transportation, Union City | No Comments »

Sen. Corbett to address Latino Business Roundtable

HAYWARD — Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett will be speaking Friday at the Hayward Chamber of Commerce Latino Business Roundtable.

Corbett’s district includes Hayward, Union City, Castro Valley, Pleasanton, part of San Leandro and a northern portion of Santa Clara County. She is serving her second term in the state Senate.

Among the legislation she has passed are laws to provide students with more information regarding student loan options and risks, give car buyers additional safeguards, and protecting homeowners that have suffered during California’s housing crisis.

The meeting begins at 8:15 a.m. at St. Rose Hospital Balch Pavilion, 27200 Calaroga Ave.

Posted on Thursday, June 27th, 2013
Under: Alameda County, Ashland, Castro Valley, Cherryland, Fairview, Hayward, Other unincorporated areas, Politics, San Leandro, Union City | No Comments »

Military recruits to be honored

CASTRO VALLEY — New military recruits will be honored at a ceremony June 2 at Castro Valley Center for the Performing Arts.

Congressman Eric Swalwell, D-Dublin, will help hand out certificates to the more than 50 recruits from the Bay Area.

A Soldier’s Medal also will be presented to Staff Sgt. Jason Ramsey of the Alameda Recruiting Center. Ramsey is credited with helping rescue a woman in June 2012 from a car that had gone into the Oakland estuary and was sinking.

The ceremony takes place 1 to 4 p.m. at 19501 Redwood Road. For more information, go to www.smr1.org.

Posted on Saturday, June 1st, 2013
Under: Alameda County, Castro Valley, Cherryland, Fairview, Fremont, Hayward, San Leandro, San Lorenzo, Union City | No Comments »

Loop meeting Thursday

In case you missed it, Hayward staff members will be holding a meeting Thursday to talk about the loop and the rest of the Route 238 Corridor Improvement project.

It seems everybody has an opinion on the new one-way traffic loop through downtown Hayward that started March 16. My perspective? It seems to work if you’re in the correct lane to get to where you want to go. I’m hoping that with final paving, striping and signs, it will be more clearer.

I have been testing out the loop from different approaches for a week. It is still confusing as to which lane you need to be in, but I think we’ll figure that out. I do hope that Hayward PD has radar guns out on Foothill Boulevard headed north; the tickets from speeders could generate quite a bit of income for the city.

Drivers headed east on A Street seem to be confused when they hit the one-way segment. Some are looping back down B Street and then right to A Street west; others seem to have no idea where to go. I’m pretty sure I would be confused, if not downright lost, if I were not from Hayward and was trying to head east on A Street.

Now, what does this mean to downtown merchants? I’m sure they will express their opinions at Thursday’s meeting, which starts at 9 a.m. in Room 1C at City Hall, 777 B St. Can’t make the meeting? The city’s loop website: haywardloop.org.

Posted on Sunday, March 24th, 2013
Under: Alameda County, Ashland, Castro Valley, Fairview, Hayward, San Lorenzo, Transportation, Union City | 19 Comments »

Food for thought

CASTRO VALLEY — While many think of St. Patrick’s Day as a time for wearing of the green, the community is invited to be green in eating habits at the same time.

A free screening of the documentary “Forks Over Knives” is planned for this coming Sunday, March 17, at the Castro Valley Library.

The film will focus on how a low-fat, plant-based diet can reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and autoimmune diseases while helping the planet.

Snacks will be provided, and a short discussion will follow the film, sponsored by Starr King Unitarian Universalist Church.

The event begins at 1:30 p.m. at the library, 3600 Norbridge Ave., Castro Valley.

Posted on Sunday, March 10th, 2013
Under: Alameda County, Ashland, Castro Valley, Environment, Fairview, Hayward, San Leandro, San Lorenzo, Union City | 1 Comment »

Hayward school board considers sending pink slips to all principals, vice principals

A proposal to send out potential layoff notices to all Hayward Unified principals and vice principals will be taken up by the district trustees on Wednesday, March 13, their last scheduled meeting before the state-mandated March 15 deadline.

Trustees talked about the idea for more than two hours this past Wednesday without taking action. But before they went into closed session, they got an earful from angry teachers who said the notices would be demoralizing. Several teachers spoke about how after years of high turnovers of principals, the district seemed to be moving forward and there was starting to be a sense of stability and team-building.

All of the principals and vice principals were evaluated, and the school board earlier approved dismissal notices for five principals and two vice principals. However, the notices discussed this past Wednesday would go to administrators who received good reviews. An email that was sent to administrators said the move would allow the superintendent more flexibility in any restructuring.

Several people said it appeared that the board had taken action of some form in closed session without reporting it, resulting in allegations of lack of transparency. Trustees are not allowed to disclose closed-session discussions.

Trustees only allowed 20 minutes for public comment, and limited each speaker to one minute at Wednesday’s meeting. Board president Will McGee, with the approval of the rest of the trustees, extended the comment period so that everyone who had asked to speak could.

The meeting was packed, with the conference room where trustees were meeting full and others in an overflow room.

Under the state Brown Act, trustees could not respond to comments made.

Sending out pink slips, as it is commonly referred to among educators, to all principals and vice principals in a school district appears to be an unusual move. It is true that Oakland did it a couple of years ago, but that district was having to close schools for financial reasons, and it didn’t have a plan in place by the March 15 deadline.

Those I spoke to at several state agencies and groups said sending out the notices was not something that they tracked, but many agreed informally that it seemed to be out of the ordinary. None would go on the record, because they didn’t have any data, but a spokesperson at one expressed surprise that pink slips would be sent out for reasons other than financial.

Hayward, like all school districts, is preparing its students for state standardized testing that will start soon. The district also has begun contract talks with its teachers union. Many of those who waited outside the more than two hours of closed session expressed concern that sending out the pink slips could disrupt things at an important time for Hayward schools.

Wednesday’s meeting begins at 5 p.m. at Hayward City Hall, 777 B St.

Posted on Friday, March 8th, 2013
Under: Alameda County, Cherryland, Fairview, Hayward, Layoffs, Schools, Union City | 9 Comments »

Update on the loop

The one-way traffic loop through downtown Hayward is scheduled for early March, according to the city’s website. I am working to get a more precise date, since March is less than three weeks away.

What’s involved: Massive traffic signal bridges that are being fabricated to order in Utah have to be shipped here. That entails getting permits to drive uber-wide loads through several states.

Once the bridges are here, there’s no good place to store them – we’re talking really wide – so they probably will go up pronto, though “pronto” still will take some doing and time. The bridges will span intersections along Foothill. The foundations (which run deep) were constructed earlier; remember those plywood boards for pedestrians near traffic lights? The foundations have been filled with asphalt for pedestrian safety. The bridges couldn’t be ordered until the foundations were constructed. It’s complicated, but Foothill is an old street, and the underground pipes and conduits aren’t always where the blueprints say they are, so each bridge’s specs are different. The asphalt was temporary and will be dug out.

Final paving of the loop – Five Flags north on Foothill to A Street, left on A to Mission Boulevard, south on Mission back to Five Flags – and lane striping will be needed, so, combined with installation of the signal bridges, we’re looking at major road closures and detours coming up. And you thought traffic was bad now!

Next week: According to city’s website, expect lane closures on Mission and Foothill, mostly Mission from Industrial to about Moreau High School both ways and Mission from Jackson Street to Highland Avenue, both ways.

The good news: Driving down Mission, big stretches are finished except for landscaping. The roads are smooth, and the ugly utility poles are gone. The lights look great.

Posted on Saturday, February 9th, 2013
Under: Alameda County, Ashland, Castro Valley, Cherryland, Fairview, Hayward, San Leandro, San Lorenzo, Transportation, Uncategorized, Union City | 11 Comments »

Emergency Shelter Program wins van

Emergency Shelter Program of Hayward has a new van from AutoWest Toyota in Hayward, thanks to Toyota’s Cars for Good program.

Toyota’s initiative hands out 100 cars to 100 nonprofit agencies over the course of 100 days.

Emergency Shelter Program provides shelter and other services to women and children who are survivors of domestic violence, human trafficking and homelessness. The van will be used to transport its clients to emergency shelter, medical and social service appointments, and legal proceedings.

Posted on Thursday, January 31st, 2013
Under: Ashland, Castro Valley, Cherryland, General, Hayward, San Leandro, San Lorenzo, Union City | No Comments »

Castro Valley High alumni planning 50th reunion

Did you graduate from Castro Valley High School in 1963? If so, your fellow alumni would like to hear from you. The grads are planning a 50th reunion for Sept. 21, with some socializing Sept. 20. The tentative schedule includes a get-together Friday evening, Saturday barbecue and picnic, and Saturday evening main event.

Those interested are asked to contact Tara O’Leary at olearytara@mac.com.

Posted on Tuesday, January 15th, 2013
Under: Ashland, Calendar, Castro Valley, Cherryland, Fairview, Fremont, Hayward, San Leandro, San Lorenzo, Union City | 1 Comment »

Tax resolution passes, with some reservations

Correction: Oops, the link below isn’t to the final story after all, but this one is.

 Here is the final story on the board’s approval of the parcel tax measure. I had a voice mail from Trustee Luis Reynoso this morning, he wanted people to know that he tried to get a low-income exemption added to the measure but the addendum was not accepted by Trustee Maribel Heredia, who made the motion on the item.

He said at the meeting that when he was a teacher he stockpiled granola bars and snacks because a lot of kids were coming to school unfed because they lived in poverty. He added that includes homeowners, and said to look at the number of foreclosures as evidence.

“So when you tell me it’s only $58, go tell people who lost their homes that it’s only $58,” he said. “Tell them when they can’t feed their kid when they send them to school.”

Also of note: Trustee William McGee said he’s wary of the tax because of the “way the school board conducts business.” He expressed disappointment earlier in the meeting because he has requested a demographics study be taken up by the board, and it has yet to happen. Also said they have yet to address the matter of new schools opening, some of which will be underenrolled.

“I hear the community wanting us to support this, but I’m not hearing the board talking about agenda construction, and the schools opening up,” he said. “I’m not sure staff has direction.”

He wanted to discuss the matter, but Board President Jesus Armas said the matter at hand is the resolution concerning the parcel tax.

“Wow,” McGee said. “This is an issue. I’m asking when are we going to start talking, as a school board, about how to maximize dollars if this gets passed. … I’m looking for an answer and not getting it.”

For the sake of school district comparison, here are stories on what’s going on in Castro ValleySan LorenzoSan Leandro and New Haven.

Posted on Friday, March 9th, 2012
Under: Castro Valley, Cherryland, Hayward, San Leandro, San Lorenzo, Schools, Union City | 11 Comments »